Here's the 1 Trait Hiring Managers Seek Most

If you're looking for a job and wondering how to stand out in a sea of applicants, this statistic may help you step up your interview game.


According to data provided by the reading subscription service Scribd, 76 percent of hiring managers believe that "being interesting" is the most crucial quality they look for when interviewing to fill a new position.


So, what does this mean?


It means your ability to be uniquely you is coveted. That study abroad program you did in college to China over January break? Interesting. That internship you hated at the time because you ended up being a golf caddy for executives? Interesting. The books you enjoy reading, the new language you're learning or the fact that you're volunteering in a local soup kitchen while you're searching for a job? Interesting.


When candidates have extremely similar backgrounds and talents, the employers often choose to hire the person who is the most likable. They possess the soft skills needed to work well with the team, but they are in demand because they're also interesting, fun to be around and they'd be the person you wouldn't mind grabbing a late dinner with after a stressful deadline.


Here are four ways to leverage your unique traits and experiences during the job search process:


Be engaging. Sometimes when we're looking for a job, we immerse ourselves in it, and while this is not a bad thing, it shouldn't be the only thing. Read daily headlines, know which sports teams are having a fantastic season and which ones are failing. Knowing about timely news and information aside from the job helps show a well-rounded personality and can go a long way in driving and engaging conversation. Speak with enthusiasm, ask questions with curiosity and be that person people want to learn more about. After all this is your opportunity to bring what they've seen on paper to life!


Read. Not only will you learn something, but this can help you add color to your talking points in an interview if you're not sure where to begin. Scribd tapped thought leader and bestselling author Tim Ferriss to share reading recommendations. Among his reading list: "Anything You Want" by Derek Sivers, a manifesto about living life; "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer, the story of an artist struggling with new rules of exchange, both online and off and "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace, a book for people who want to lead their employees to new levels of excellence. There are many great reads out there: Find ones you connect with and utilize those findings in your next interview.


Travel. And if you don't have the funds or time, read about different cultures, explore new experiences, learn a new language – become a versatile, lifelong learner. First, you'll likely find yourself fascinated and engaged with something you may have never thought of and as an added bonus, it'll raise the bar on your "interesting meter" – not only during interviews but with clients, friends and family. Through the lens of work, your boss will also take comfort knowing you can work a room – no matter the audience – by driving conversation that everyone can participate in and relate to.


Communicate. Being interesting is a great asset but you'll also need to know how to incorporate your interesting experiences and insights into your next job interview answers in an effortless way. Weaving little tidbits about traveling or other worldly experiences into your interview answers is a simple way to talk about extracurricular activities without seeming arrogant or boastful. Instead you're illustrating how you make every experience a learning experience – personally and professionally. And it's not just about saying you saw a great piece of art or read a phenomenal thought-provoking book; it's about what you learned from that, what moved you, how you changed and if it made you see the world a little bit differently.


If you're asked about the last time you dealt with a difficult colleague and how you handled it, you can talk about the situation and the outcome while sprinkling in an example or two about how that reminds you of a book you read, a TED Talk you watched or leadership seminar you attended. It shows you're well-rounded and relatable. Don't be afraid to break the mold and celebrate the experiences and qualities that make you uniquely you.


And even if you're not asked about specific questions attesting to your unique out-of-the box attributes, talk about them anyway. "That reminds me of a book I just read that covered this specific topic!" is a great way to pivot into talking about the book and most importantly, what you learned. So, don't be shy – the next time you talk to a hiring manager (or even at a networking event), go ahead and impress for success.